Plumber convicted for breach of gas regualtions

Judge James O’Connor: refused to allow the  application  by  the Commission for Energy Regulation for costs

Judge James O’Connor: refused to allow the application by the Commission for Energy Regulation for costs

Sat, Oct 26, 2013, 01:00

A plumber who put a boiler on a wall of a house for later connection by an LPG (liquid petroleum gas) technician to a bulk gas tank, received a conviction at the District Court in Dingle yesterday.

The plumber had not understood that under 2006 regulations, a boiler was “technically a gas appliance”, the court heard. His conviction was for carrying out work on a gas installation when he was not registered as a person entitled to carry out gas works.

The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) – representatives of which were in court for the hearing – afterwards welcomed the decision, saying it was determined to pursue illegal gas works anywhere in the country.

Michael O’Sullivan, Clogher, Ballyferriter, Co Kerry, pleaded guilty to carrying out the works at Ballymacadoyle, Burnham, Dingle, between June 1st and 30th last year. His solicitor said the owner of the house was upgrading an old oil system and was availing of a promotion to install a bulk gas tank. His client had not linked the boiler to the gas pipe and had left it for the LPG technician to do this.

Mr O’Sullivan did not understand at the time that installing the boiler was a breach of regulations, the solicitor said. “He wants to stress he did not connect the tank to the boiler, but he accepts now it is a technical breach.”

State solicitor Ed O’Sullivan, prosecuting, told the court that since 2006, installation of LPG in private houses must be carried out by registered gas installers. The prosecution was brought by the CER under Section (9G)3 of the Electricity Regulators Act 1999 as amended by the Energy Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2006.

The maximum penalty was €5,000 and/or five months in prison, the court was told. The commission was also seeking €2,825 in costs.

The court heard how Mr O’Sullivan was of good character, had no previous convictions, had pleaded guilty and had co-operated fully. Judge James O’Connor fined him €100 but refused to allow the CER’s application for costs.

In a statement afterwards, the commission, which is also the gas regulator, said this was the fourth prosecution of its kind in Ireland for illegal gas works.

“ It emphasises the requirement by law for all gas installers to be registered with the Register of Gas Installers of Ireland before carrying out any gas works relating to domestic gas appliances.”